Have you ever experienced slow download speed when downloading or updating packages in Ubuntu even when your network connection is running fine? You encounter this issue especially when updating and installing packages for the first time after installing a new Ubuntu OS. However, there is a way to get around this by speeding up the download speed using apt-fast command in Linux.

Apt-fast is a shell script wrapper for “apt-get” and “aptitude” that uses the power of either axel or aria 2 download managers to accelerate the download process. It improves download performance by downloading packages simultaneously in parallel with multiple packages per connection.

In this article, we will walk through some steps to install apt-fast in order to accelerate the update and downloading process in Ubuntu. We will use Ubuntu 18.04 LTS for describing the procedure mentioned in this article.

Step 1: Installing prerequisites

We need to install axel or aria2 in order to use apt-fast. These are command-line based Linux download managers. They help to download multiple files simultaneously and act as download accelerators.

Run the following command in Terminal to install either axel or aria2:

$ sudo apt-get install axel

Or

$ sudo apt-get install aria2

For this article, we will use axel.

Install Download manager

Step 2: Installing apt-fast

Now we are prepared for installing apt-fast. Follow the below steps in order to install apt-fast.

1. Add the required PPA to your list of software resources by running the following command in Terminal:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:apt-fast/stable

Install apt-fast PPA respository

2. After adding PPA, update your local apt repository by running the following command in Terminal:

$ sudo apt-get update

Update packages

3. Then run the following command in Terminal to install apt-fast:

$ sudo apt-get -y install apt-fast

apt-fast installation

During the installation of apt-fast, a window will appear asking you to perform some package configuration.

When the following screen appears, select apt-get and hit Enter to move to the next step.

configuring apt-fast

Now choose the maximum number of connections allowed. Hit Enter to move on to next step.

Max number of connections

If you want, you can also set maximum number of connections later using the _MAXNUM variable in the configuration file.

When the following screen appears, leave the default value selected, and press Enter.

Suppress confirm dialog

Step 3: Configuring apt-fast

After the installation is completed, we will need to do a basic configuration. The default configuration file of apt-fast is at /etc/apt-fast.

1. Run the following command in Terminal to edit the configuration file in the editor:

$ sudo nano /etc/apt-fast.conf

2. In the configuration file, add the comma-separated mirrors in the following syntax:

MIRRORS=( ‘http://archive.ubuntu.com/Ubuntu, http://de.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu’)

You can use the following Ubuntu’s official mirror page and add nearest mirrors based on your geographical location.

https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+archivemirrors

3. Also add the mirrors that are present in /etc/apt/sources.list in the apt-fast configuration file /etc/apt-fast.conf.

apt-fast configuration file

Step 4: Using Apt-fast

Apt-fast is really simple to use, just use fast instead of get in the apt-get command. Following are the commands that you will require the most in order to use apt-fast:

To install a package using apt-fast, use the following command:

$ sudo apt-fast install package_name

To remove a package using apt-fast, use the following command :

$ sudo apt-fast remove package_name

To update a package using apt-fast, use the following command:

$ sudo apt-fast update

To upgrade a package using apt-fast, use the following command:

$ sudo apt-fast upgrade

Let’s see how apt-fast works by installing flash player in Ubuntu. For that, run the following command in Terminal:

$ sudo apt-fast install flashplugin-installer

It will ask for confirmation, enter y to confirm.

Using apt-fast

From the above results, you can see that it is downloading the flash player package using several connections.

That is all we required in order to install apt-fast for increasing download speed while installing and updating packages on Ubuntu. Now enjoy the faster downloading experience!

How to Speed Up Package Downloads and Updates with apt-fast on Ubuntu